Darkside by Belinda Bauer - review

by Joanna Hines

"It was like investigating a murder in Brigadoon," thinks the aptly named but thoroughly hacked-off DCI John Marvel as he struggles to solve the sudden crimewave in Shipcott, a moorland village in Somerset with a rapidly declining population. The trouble starts when a disabled old woman is smothered in her bed, and then gets worse, culminating in the murders of three elderly residents of Sunset Lodge: not so much a killing, by this stage, more of a cull, thinks Marvel. With his rage and his wet shoes and his outrageous theories, Marvel is the best character in this gripping story of a small community paralysed by secrets, snow and murders. He provides a necessary antidote to the apparently saintly local bobby, Jonas Holly and his adored, terminally ill wife Lucy. Bauer won wide acclaim for her first novel, Blacklands; she can do tragic brilliantly and she can do grim, but every now and then humour breaks into the tale – and she does that almost best of all.

Contributor

Joanna Hines

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Blacklands by Belinda Bauer | Book review
Laura Wilson is gripped by a debut crime novel from Belinda Bauer

Laura Wilson

16, Jan, 2010 @12:06 AM

Article image
The best recent crime novels – review roundup
The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer, The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney, The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again! by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, Satellite People by Hans Olav Lahlum and Fallout by Paul Thomas

Laura Wilson

12, Feb, 2015 @12:00 PM

Sara Paretsky on VI Warshawski, John O'Connell and Belinda Bauer on crime writing

This week crime fiction is under investigation as Claire Armitstead grills Sara Paretsky about the latest case for her iconic private eye VI Warshawski, and critic John O'Connell and debut novelist Belinda Bauer spill the beans to Sarah Crown

Presented by Sarah Crown and produced by Scott Cawley

12, Mar, 2010 @3:09 PM

Article image
Debut novelist Belinda Bauer wins Golden Dagger
Blacklands praised as 'riveting psychological suspense' that 'demands a one-sitting read'

Richard Lea

11, Oct, 2010 @1:45 PM

Article image
Euro Noir by Barry Forshaw – review
Euro Noir offers an exhilarating, whistle-stop tour of Europe viewed through its crime fiction, writes PD Smith

PD Smith

22, Jul, 2014 @11:29 AM

Wild Thing by Joolz Denby – review

By Cathi Unsworth

Cathi Unsworth

17, Apr, 2012 @8:07 AM

Article image
Scarecrow by Matthew Pritchard – review
A well-paced whodunnit debut set against a vividly drawn Andalucian backdrop, writes James Smart

James Smart

17, Jan, 2014 @4:27 PM

Article image
The best recent crime novels – review roundup
Snap by Belinda Bauer; The Old Religion by Martyn Waites; Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh; The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong; Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall and The House Swap by Rebecca Fleet

Laura Wilson

19, May, 2018 @10:59 AM

Article image
Forever Rumpole by John Mortimer – review
The writing might not be of the highest order, but Nicholas Lezard submits that the case for the Rumpole stories is indisputable

Nicholas Lezard

05, Feb, 2013 @12:01 PM

Lethal Investments by KO Dahl – review

By Cathi Unsworth

18, Oct, 2011 @9:10 AM